Ordnance Survey (OS) has added thousands of bizarre local nicknames to coastal areas to make it easier to find people in emergency situations.
Its quirky nicknames, including Stinky Bay, Crazy Mary’s Hole, and Nuncle Dicks, were originally adopted by locals and fishermen.
But now OS, the British government-backed charting agency, has added them to a private version of its charting service for Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) staff.
It means members of the public across Britain can now pass the weird nicknames on to MCA staff during an emergency.
This allows MCA to determine their precise location faster and also allows the rescue teams to react faster, ultimately saving more lives.
MCA was called up last year for more than 33,000 incidents around the British coast.
Stinky Bay, Crazy Mary’s Hole, Nuncle Dicks and Black Knob Point are some of the memorable names that help emergency services get to locations faster
WEIRD LOCAL NICKNAMES
1. Black button dot, Salcombe Devon, TQ8 8NP
2. Crazy Mary’s Hole, Gisleham, Suffolk, NR33 7PF
3. Stinky Bay (there are two)
– Craigie Brae, Nunton, Western Isles, HS7 5QA
– Atlantic House Hotel, Atlantic, Cornwall PL27 6WG
4. Nucle Dick, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1DJ
5. Hybrid Rocks, Torbay, Devon, TQ5 9AW
6. Jacob’s ladder, The Cliffs, Upper Kewstone, Weston Super Mare, Somerset, BS23, 2ES
7. Lobs pound point, Otterhampton, Somerset, TA6 4SR
8. The Comedy Carpet, Heywood Street 1, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 5JA
9. the necks, Hardhorn & Thornton, Lancashire, FY7 5JA
10. Smooth bottom, Swallow Tail Boatyard, Ludham, Norfolk, NR29 5QG
11. Skeleton Range, Barton Turf, Norfolk, NR12 8XS
12. Arish Mell Gap, East Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5QE
13. black duck, Dartford, Kent, DA9 9XN
Note: These are just a handful of examples from a database of several thousand.
The project started with a pilot on the south coast, but has since grown into a nationwide system.
OS has added the nicknames to its map for several years, which is not available to the public – only MCA employees.
More nicknames can also be added to the service as they become apparent – for beaches, rocks, waterways and other coastal areas, as well as domestic features.
So MCA staff can now simply enter the location name given by an emergency caller into the tool and be told where it is before dispatching emergency services.
OS has provided a GIF showing the number of coastal nicknames added to the database — officially called FINTAN — as and when they were uploaded.
MCA can currently refer to nearly 500,000 coastal place names, including 7,500 local nicknames and alternative names of landmarks along the British coast.
These names would rarely appear on a map or navigation device, the operating system claims, such as Apple Maps or Google Maps.
“At OS, we have a long history of supporting all emergency services with our map data,” said Chris Chambers, head of OS National Mapping Services.
“It’s not just coastal areas that have alternate names, people across the country refer to many other locations by nicknames – from buildings to parks and roundabouts to intersections.”
“Now our ambition is to make the service accessible in all parts of Britain, as part of our public duty, to support all our emergency services.”
Ideally, people calling for help in an emergency would provide the coordinates for emergency services to find a location.
But these are not immediately available to spectators who do not have access to the Internet in the great outdoors.
The mapping is also officially called FINTAN and is displayed in the offices of MCA rescuers
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Callers often used nicknames for beaches, rocks, and other areas that have different names on maps or don’t appear in gazetteers.
This can make identifying the location of the incident difficult for a 999 operator when time is of the essence.
So OS has officially added these strange place names to its service for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Members of the public can provide the nickname during an emergency call.
But the caller ideally needs local knowledge and the casual name of the location when dialing 999.
Anyone who has seen an emergency should call 999 and ask to be put through to the Coast Guard for a coastal emergency. For a rescue in the water in the interior they would have to ask the fire brigade.
An OS spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘FINTAN is used by the coastguard operator who talks to the emergency caller, as part of the coordination of emergency response.
“The operator points to the map while talking to the caller to best determine where the incident is taking place.
“They can use any additional information to help – for example, smartphones will automatically pass by the cell tower the phone is connected to and possibly a GPS location.”
Coast Guards recommend anyone heading to the coast this summer to familiarize themselves with the area — and remember any weird local nicknames.
“We are here to save lives and our number one priority is to reach those who need our help as quickly as possible,” said Coast Guard Chief Pete Mizen.
‘We are expecting another busy summer on the coast this year with many families and water sports enthusiasts enjoying holidays in the UK and this database will no doubt be invaluable to us again.’
Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was called out last year for more than 33,000 incidents around the British coast. Pictured, the Jurassic Coastline, Southern England
Founded in 1791, OS is known for its physical maps and OS Maps, the map app for iOS and Android, which has free and paid user options.
OS Maps, which has more than 3.5 million users, includes 3D mapping, augmented reality (AR) tools and more than 4 million routes spanning 30 million miles.
Earlier this month, OS announced that the partnered with game studio PRELOADED to create an augmented reality (AR) game for families to play outdoors, launching in early 2022.
The game will be built on the operating system’s extensive maps, using geospatial data to deliver “contextual experiences” based on location.
Ordnance Survey partners with game studio PRELOADED to develop augmented reality (AR) to engage families in the great outdoors
“We want to make maps fun and geolocation games and gamified apps enable their players to visualize the outdoors together as they experience and interact with their environment,” said Nick Giles, director of OS Leisure.
‘It is no longer about what is physically present in a fixed place. By creating our own Geo-location game, this new mix of realities gives us more opportunities to encourage people to explore and get outside more often.”
AR superimposes computer-generated images on an existing reality, much like Pokemon Go, Nintendo’s successful mobile app.
APPLE WORKS WITH ORDNANCE RESEARCH FOR MAPS 2.0
The new Apple Maps launches with more detailed (left) bike routes (right) and the Google Street View-esque ‘Look Around’ feature (center)
Apple released a redesigned Maps for UK users in October 2020, featuring city guides, cycling directions and the Google Street-style ‘Look Around’ feature.
The US tech giant has teamed up with Ordnance Survey to make British and Irish landmasses and buildings more detailed for the new Maps interface.
Apple Maps ‘2.0’ has better road and pedestrian data, more accurate addresses, and detailed land cover.
It now also offers cycling directions that guide users along bike paths and city guides to the best restaurants and shops.
The Look Around feature allows users to explore large areas of London, Edinburgh and Dublin at street level through 3D photography.
Read more: Apple Maps ‘2.0’ launches in UK